The Closer: No Good Deed
(S02E12) This episode opens with a sombre tone when a teen-age boy is found shot to death in front of his home, in a very nice neighborhood. The kid (Carl Neilson) doesn't have any gang affiliations but he is the star witness in a murder case and his testimony could free the man on death row for the murders of two convenience store owners. Detectives start their hunt for the man described by the kid as the real killer.
But hell with the case. We've got a bitch fight between Estelle (Chief Pope's soon-to-be ex-wife) and Brenda and it ain't pretty. Estelle barges into the investigation room and, with every single member of Brenda's team present, she yells at Brenda about her previous affair with Chief Pope and accuses her of having another affair with him. Yowza. So much for spending all of last season gaining the respect of her team.
Of course, the team is now split about how to react to the big news. Det. Flynn's loyalty to Brenda is obviously not very strong because he's the first one to start questioning what the hell she's doing leading his department (although, he did stick his neck out on the line and sever his relationship with Cmdr. Taylor out of allegiance to Brenda). Surprisingly, Det. Provenza, who was such a pill to her last year, is quick to defend her. She also gets in trouble with Fritz, who directs her to be clear with Chief Pope that she's not interested in having a relationship with him. But the most surprising (and hilarious) reaction comes from Cmdr. Taylor, who defends Brenda's honor. It's in that obviously rehearsed/planned public defense of Brenda that a lightbulb goes off over her head to crack the case.
Let me just stop and say something here: This show is getting way too predictable. The last few episodes have been formulaic just like this one: something in the secondary storyline sparks Brenda to solve the case.
Speaking of the case.... as soon as Brenda starts interviewing the guy who's on death row for the murders, she discovers a common ground between him and the teen-ager: They both have the same priest. The priest got his students involved in the Freedom Initiative, an effort to free innocent people from prison. Did he compel the kid to make up information in order to save the man condemned to death? Maybe. But Carl's friend, Kendall, is awfully suspicous too. It turns out, she was pen pals... er, more than pen pals with the perp. Brenda breaks into the chick's locker to find her love letters from the condemned prisoner. (By the way, where the hell were Kendall's parents the entire time she was in police custody?) As I guessed at exactly 33 minutes into the show, Kendall coerced Carl into making up an alibi for her beloved prisoner.
It's hit or miss with this show. This season started out strong, but now the side stories about Brenda and Pope's relationship are stale and easily wrapped up. We're treated to fireworks in the promos and even in the shows but they just fizzle out at the end. What were the consequences of Estelle's big blow up in the investigation room? Nothing! One or two lines questioning Brenda's position and then everybody shuts up with Taylor defends her??
What's so great about this show is not only Brenda, but the quirky supporting cast. My favorite episodes this season have been the ones where we got to meet the goofballs who help Brenda solve crimes. More Provenza! More Flynn! More Tau! I'd even like to see more Fritz!
By the way, there's a season two marathon of The Closer next Monday leading up to the season finale.